In Connemara, with an expert local guide you will embark on a difficult four to six-hour off-trail mountain hike of three adjacent peaks in the rugged 12 Bens; Ben Lettery, Ben Gleniskey and Ben Gower. Enjoy wild mountain landscape, stunning views and spectacular blanket bog. The glistening quartzite peaks of the Twelve Bens of Connemara form a mountain landscape unique in Ireland and it is one that any serious walker will be drawn to eventually.
Ballynahinch Castle is set amid hundreds of acres of grounds and surrounded by the wild beauty of Connemara’s craggy mountains. The original 18th-century building has been much adapted over the years, but its key qualities –tranquillity, space, relaxed comfort and natural beauty – remain splendidly intact. Imagine a manor house on the edge of a peat-dark, salmon-rich river, surrounded by mature woodlands and with glimpses of the grey Twelve Bens mountain range beyond, and with the ocean just a few miles away: that’s Ballynahinch. The hotel is secluded, but no means isolated.
During your stay here, take a guided boat trip on Roundstone Bay and visit the deserted, picturesque island of Inishlacken with an experienced skipper and lobster fisherman from the nearby island of Inishnee. On your journey, you will pass a grey seal colony located in the Ballynahinch estuary, whilst also keeping your eyes peeled to the sky for numerous sea birds such as Terns, Guillemots, Gannets plus other thriving fauna. If you are lucky, you may even spot a dolphin, playing in the ocean.
The highlight of the trip for most is the visit to Inishlacken, an idyllic island of stone walls, white sandy beaches, nesting sea birds and ruined houses; echoing of a way of life now lost. With a population of nearly 200 residents in 1900, the last islanders departed in the 1980s. This is the perfect way to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, away from the road and out on the water itself.